Past Seminars and Events 2017
Dr. Thomas L. Gianetti
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zürich
Inorganic Faculty Candidate Seminar
Monday, February 6th, 2017
11:00 AM, CAIT Auditorium
Recently, nitrous oxide (N2O) and fluorinated gases have been identified as the largest global ozone depleting agents and as greenhouse gases, with N 2O being the 3rd most emitted gas worldwide and 300 times more powerful than CO2. N2O is naturally produced via nitrification and denitrification of nitrate during the nitrogen cycle. However, N 2O emission has increased significantly during industrialization as a result of agricultural soil management, N ‐fertilizer use, livestock waste management, mobile & stationary fossil fuel, and industrial processes. On the other hand, fluorinated organic compounds are present in 20% of pharmaceutical and 40% of agrochemical products, and bio ‐accumulate in nature, as they are degraded neither by sunlight nor metabolized by living organisms. For these reasons, the activation of nitrous oxide and fluorinated organics is of particular interest. However, due to their high bond strength and/or inherent kinetic inertness, their transformation to less harmful chemicals is among the most challenging. Currently, the remediation of these environmental problems is mainly limited to incineration, which requires very high ‐temperatures and/or release fluorinated toxic and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. We have successfully designed low valent and reactive organometallic species containing abundant metals (Nb and Co) that activate and catalytically transform, under mild conditions, these environmentally unfriendly molecules to less harmful chemicals.